Fortune 500 companies that secretly run your life

These companies may not get a lot of attention, but they define the course of our lives in more ways than you might imagine.

CHS, Inc.
chs inc

You can't tell by the company's name what it does, exactly. CHS Inc., however, has its hands in a wide range of lucrative industries -- petroleum products, chemicals, food and financial services. The company is owned by United States agricultural cooperatives and has been ever since it was founded in 1929 as the North Pacific Grain Growers. In 2003, it changed its name from Cenex Harvest States Cooperatives to CHS Inc., keeping Cenex as the name for its energy business, and offering preferred stock and non-voting ownership to investors.

Today, the company is not necessarily the No. 1 player in any of the categories it's involved in, but sweeps in at second or third place in a variety of categories. CHS is the nation's third largest U.S. grain exporter, and the third largest U.S. propane retailer. It has a joint venture with Ventura foods, a major manufacturer of bulk margarine. And while it is by no means up there with the Exxons of the world, CHS sells more than 3 billion gallons of refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 06 2013 07:15 AM ET
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